Irwin Cotler: ‘Never again,’ again and again

 

This week marks an important moment of remembrance and reminder, of bearing witness and public warning. For it marks the 22nd anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide – an unspeakable atrocity where one million Rwandans were murdered in a three-month genocidal onslaught that began April 7, 1994. Indeed, what makes the Rwandan Genocide so unspeakable was not only the horror of the genocide itself, but the fact that it was preventable. No one can say that we did not know – we knew, but we did not act.

As former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, lamented on the 10thanniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, “Such crimes cannot be reversed. Such failures cannot be repaired. The dead cannot be brought back to life. So what can we do?”

The answer is that the international community will only prevent the killing fields of the future by heeding the lessons from past tragedies. What, then, are these lessons, and, what is it that we can do?

 

 

The Skulls and bones of some of those who were slaughtered during the 1994 genocide. (Photo credit: Ben Curtis, AP)

The Skulls and bones of some of those who were slaughtered during the 1994 genocide. (Photo credit: Ben Curtis, AP)

Excerpt from:

IRWIN COTLER
The National Post
Published: April 07, 2016